For kids too old for Santa, the beginning of racing season often brings about more excitement than a jolly man delivering presents. Winter testing often fills the gap for race fans. A long season of private and series-sponsored tests for World Superbikes get underway beginning next week, stretching until just days before the season opener at Phillip Island on February 27th.
The Kawasaki factory team and and satellite Team Pedercini get the season started off with their test, this coming Monday, January 10th through 14th, at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, while Liberty Racing Ducati will be riding around at Guadix, Spain on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ten Kate will be at Motorland Aragon, which was highly praised at its MotoGP inaugural round last season, two weeks from now on January 20th and 21st.
Most of the WSBK field will be off to the first Infront test January 26th-28th at Portimao, though BMW Motorrad will spend those days in Australia, at Eastern Creek. The BMW team will move to Phillip Island days later, to test January 30th-February 1st. Ten Kate will be there for the 16th and 17th with Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus, whilst the rest of the field prepares for the second and final WSBK test at Phillip Island just days before the season kicks off, with the test on February 21st and 22nd, as the first race of the season is on February 27th. Here’s a chart if all those dates made your mind as scrambled as they did mine.
While some contracts are still up in the air, such as the discussions between Gabor Talmacsi and Team Pedercini, hints are coming together regarding the final rider line-ups. Since the factory Kawasaki team indicated that Chris Vermeulen, Tom Sykes, and Joan Lascorz would be its 2011 riders, it is all but assured that Talmacsi will ride for Team Pedercini, as Lascorz was that team’s back-up choice should the satellite team and its rider not gel at this week’s test.
The usual disclaimer applies to winter testing, in that both teams and riders are generally cagey about their progress over the winter. While general assumptions about the upcoming season can be made from any data released after these tests, it is always best to be wary of predictions based solely on winter testing times.
|January 10-14||Sepang, Malaysia||Kawasaki|
|January 11-12||Guadix, Spain||Liberty Racing Ducati|
|January 20-21||Motorland Aragon, Spain||Ten Kate Honda|
|January 26-28||Portimao, Portugal||Infront (most teams)|
|January 26-28||Eastern Creek, Australia||BMW Motorrad|
|January 30-February 1||Phillip Island, Australia||BMW Motorrad|
|February 16-17||Phillip Island, Australia||Ten Kate Honda|
|February 21-22||Phillip Island, Australia||Infront (most teams)|